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“Hate to be a downer, but this is NOT a safe course”

The Town Tinker Tube Rental
Ranked #5 of 9 things to do in Phoenicia
Attraction details
Reviewed 9 July 2012

I remember tubing the Esopus when I was about 14 (around 25 years ago), and I don't remember us being in any danger, I'm guessing we were either in another section or the water was running a lot higher... my fiancee and I went for the gusto the other day, and still have the bruises to prove it. There are a TON of rocks that you cannot avoid, I'm almost surprised neither one of us snapped a leg. There is still a lot of debris up and down the creek that could use cleaning out as well. I hate to be a downer because I love fun on the water, but you better be prepared for a bumpy ride on this course, I'd almost advise going with a helmet.

4  Thank Weezulman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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49 - 53 of 59 reviews

Reviewed 7 July 2012

I was at Town Tinker Tube Rental on Thurs July 5th and the description below by "retromaven" is very accurate. The only thing I would disagree on is calling the tube rental service and amenties are great. The business is run by teenagers out of a old barn. They just want to collect your money and send you on your way. The only honest person in the entire operation in the bus driver. He will tell you what to really expect when you are on the river.
Once you enter the river there is no way out of it. There are no employees to help you enter the river and there are no checkpoints along the way to ask for help. About 15 minutes into the river you will approach a very strong section of rapids in relatively shallow water with large rocks on both sides of you. I was thrown out of my tube and hit my head on the rocks and my legs went numb. I was dragged by the currents for a few minutes with my feet and legs smacking against the rocks until I could regain my senses and swim to the rocky shore. It took me a hour on the side of the river to recover enough to make the journey down the rest of the river. Also, the locals have posted numerous "No Trespassing" signs along the rocky shore and will not offer assistance to an injured person. Three hours after I began, I limped to the final bridge and climbed upon the river bank to dry land with a broken right foot and cuts and bruises to both legs, back, and shoulder.
This in no way is an "adventure". It is a poorly run and dangerous death trap.

19  Thank Nipsey R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2012

I am for all intents and purposes a "local" to the Catskills and Town Tinker Tube Rental. First let me say the actual tube rental service and amenities are great and this is an established business that has been an institution here in the Catskills for YEARS. Over time, the Esopus has gotten more rough and more debris has fallen since the past few hurricanes and noreasters, so they have had to close down the novice course the past two seasons, which is still NOT a lazy river, but it isn't the white water malestrom the advanced (and only open course for 2011 and now 2012) course is -- and my low rating is they do not warn you how challenging this course is, nor do they insist on helmets and they should.

I just got back today, and I would say these YELP! reviews are accurate: http://www.yelp.com/biz/town-tinker-tube-rental-phoenicia#hrid:VIZdljb2-YeiGGoOHjtA0Q

I have tubed here before (back 7 or more years ago when it was less treacherous) and am a strong swimmer and outdoor adventure minded person. I had an overall fun experience, but it got hairy for me 3 times, nearly drowning when I flipped in the rapids on a boulder hitting my head and getting trapped under the wood bottom tube which was being pushed down over me and filled with me under it with rushing water while I was dragged and bashed by boulders and crazy currents. I panicked at first, calmed down and was able to wedge myself in rocks and make it back into the tube. You can't stay close to your friends/family/partner it's too fast and rough, so when I got in trouble, my guy couldn't help, he could only watch nervously and frantically downstream. There is no one to help if you get hurt AND you really can't bring a cell phone, as neck lashings are futile (read on) and you will lose anything you take. Trust me.

Most of the people who ended up going on the same bus tried to walk past the rough gnarley and rapid areas, but this is pretty impossible, and they were quickly forced back in, many in panic mode. There are downed trees, metal scraps and huge boulders in the river and dangerously protruding from the embankment which are knocked down (and uncleared for two years) and it's very hard to clear these obstacles in such a swift current. This is where many were getting ripped up and thrashed. Some of these rapids are class 3 & 4 on the advanced course and on a water release date can reach class 5.

I wish I had a helmet on, I would have felt a lot more confident. Many of the people found the course way too challenging to complete, and if they did, they were pretty thrashed/miserable as they were expecting something a lot less challenging. I don't think there was a single person out of the 50 or so people we were going down with who expected something this challenging.

Although I lost my expensive tethered sun glasses, have a bump on my head and thrashed legs, I did have fun for 85% of the time. The three times I got dumped/stuck under a massive tree in level 4 rapids it was frustrating/challenging/downright scary and adrenaline charged. Had I had a helmet and known what to expect, I probably would have felt more prepared. Getting your head bumped on the rocks/drowning potential was the issue here. I would do this again, but definitely with a helmet and knowing the challenges I was going to face.

TIPS:

DO NOT RUN THIS WITH YOUR LIFE JACKET OFF. YOU WILL GET SERIOUSLY INJURED or DROWN.

RENT A HELMET.

DO NOT DRINK or get INTOXICATED.

DO NOT WEAR ANY jewelry, hats or glasses. If you wear contacts, you might want goggles, if you dump, you may lose your lenses in the current. A few did, mine got blurry for a while...not good when you have to be on your A-game and see where you are going at ALL times.

DO NOT use those neck things to hold items around your neck. If you get dumped in the heavy rapids/current, it could pull/twist around your neck and choke or strangle you...we saw this today, thankfully it worked out.

NO YOUNG KIDS (I'd say over 16) and no non/weak swimmers.

Check for water release dates (even stronger class 5 rapids) on TOWN TINKER's FB page.

EXPECT to be bumped and bruised a bit. The water is super COLD even on a 96 degree day like today, especially after rain or releases. They do rent wet suits. Make sure you have old sneakers or really heavy bottomed (Merrell's or Keen's) water shoes Chacos or Teva's. Whimpy Wal-Mart water shoes will NOT work, they are NOT substantial enough. They do rent sneakers for $3 if you don't have a pair that can get wet.

Again, the tube rental service is flawless and like a well oiled machine and they are friendly. Everything you need is there, they have done this for years. There were many people bruised, injured and scared today. I don't mean to discourage anyone, but they do not explain this is white water tubing with a challenging an dangerous course. You do have to sign mass waivers like sky diving.

BRING YOUR SENSE OF ADVENTURE, YOUR A-GAME, follow the above tips and make sure you keep a sharp eye on the course...and have some fun! It is a R/L thrill ride with NO SAFTETY NET!!!

Cheers!

6  Thank retromaven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2012

The tube ride down the Esopus river was excelllent. Town Tinker was a great place to rent from.

Thank returnpost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2011

This place has been around for years. They are located right next to the Espous. They will even pick you up at the end of your journey.

Thank Jeffbklyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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